Don't let the fact its Columbia scare you like it originally did me. The people are friendly, the little sanctuary near the port is amazing. Saw tons of rescues. A baby sloth, baby ant eater, around 50 parrots, tiny monkeys if you can spot them, peacocks, peahens and even a flamingo chick with its flock! Theres even more if you can find them, if they fly or climb they are not in cages so they can freely crawl or fly around you, the ground walkers such as the ant eaters are in a fenced in area for their safety from us. I highly recommend once out of the main port in old town, ask locals for their favorite food stop. We were walked to a little hole in the wall restaurant with some of the BEST bolognese sauce I've ever had in my life, it was like a sweet pork sauce. My parents had the best chicken and beef. Even the soda is better than in the us as it's full of carbonation and tastes good.
This is a great place. The old town with its magnificent wall is beautiful and charming. Nice colonial style architecture, very colorful buildings with balconies full of flowers. The churches are lovely. Nice squares and quaint small streets. Lots of great history. Vendors may be pushy but just ignore them. Truly enjoyed it.
This port caught us totally by surprise because it wasn't what we were expecting at all. It's a little Miami in the new town - all white condo buildings and sky scrapers. And in the old town, the walled city is a must see! There was so much history to hear about see. The only downfall was the unrelenting vendors trying to sell us hats and everything else, they never stopped! But upon return to the cruise ship terminal, there's a free small zoo and Juan Valdez store and they were so nice to go through before getting back on the ship - macaws, peacocks, black swans, pink flamingos!
Visited: Apr 08, 2018
We did the "1-Hour Horse & Carriage Ride In Old Town" shore excursion ($59.95 for 3 hours) by Princess and really enjoyed it. We stopped briefly at San Felipe Fort--very big, very impressive. It is located on the Hill of San Lazaro in a strategic location where it dominates approaches to the city by land or sea. Very helpful for detecting French or English pirates in the 17th century. Also found a store across the street that let us use their restroom for $1. Reminded me of finding restrooms in Italy and Turkey. Primitive, but functional. Wow, souvenir vendors in Cartagena were most aggressive of any on this cruise. Came right up to bus window, would not take NO for an answer and followed you if you walked away. We arrived in the Old Town area and were assigned our carriages. We enjoyed a lovely, peaceful ride through the beautiful and iconic architecture of New World colonists--cobbled streets, magnificent churches and idyllic pastel-painted houses dripping with tropical flowers. Luckily, we were a party of three, so our guide Fernando hopped into our 4-person carriage and promptly narrated the whole hour in Old Town. The rest of our group did not get all that wonderful background and history. He was very informative and interesting. Definitely worth the tour money. After the carriage ride, we walked along several very long blocks in Old Town and souvenir-shopped. We really enjoyed Cartagena, but it was quite warm that day (April) and we were eventually happy to get back onto the air-conditioned bus and the ship. Colombia was the only country on our cruise where we were told beforehand that we would need a yellow fever shot if we planned to go outside of Cartagena and into the countryside. Apparently they do not have yellow fever under control in Colombia.
Visited: Mar 30, 2019
Loved it. Beautiful loved it all. Best avoided by people who are afraid of people trying to make a living. A simple no is all that's needed. We got a local tour guide who was really good. Free time around Cartagena was great.
FABULOUS excursion, “Cartagena City Tour” booked through Ship Mate. (Often see Benny’s name as a guide) Also available through Trip Advisor. Saw lots of things. Guide very knowledgeable, and we felt very safe in her company. Only 6 of us on the tour. Great price for that kind of service.
Visited: Jan 09, 2019
We did not take tour because we heard that the locals were extremely harassing and the tours were expensive. We did leave ship and went to the terminals where they had a great free wild animal sanctuary where there all kinds of birds, peacocks, deer and different kinds of monkeys. It was really great! The store there also had a great variety of items for sale and very reasonable.
Visited: Apr 19, 2018
AMAZING! Even though it poured on the first night during our Private excursion and some people did not enjoy it, the hubby and I had a blast. As for the second day we left the ship at 6am and explored the city til noon. The locals were very friendly and helpful with locations of memorable sites. As for the port there is an area where you can see emerald in their raw stage in the cave and also a sanctuary for animals (tons birds, tortoise, ant eater, & monkies) and its all FREE, FREE
Visited: Sep 29, 2019
Cartagena was a major surprise. In a word, I'd rate it fabulous. Once again, we hired an English speaking guide who gave us a terrific tour at a very fair price. The guy was a walking encyclopedia of history. He had great language skills and humor. When we finished our taxi tour, we went to the Cathedral in the Old Town and found an English speaking guide who continued our tour. Once again, he was great. Our experience in Cartagena was well worth the time. We found the Colombians friendly, hospitable and curious. In short, I'm ready to go back there for a continuation of our tour and actually, after speaking with Colombians, wouldn't mind going to Bogata and Medellin (yes, that Medellin). We NEVER felt threatened. The streets were welcoming and it was a great experience
Visited: Jan 02, 2019
This was one of our favorite ports. Everyone kept saying we may not even want to get off the ship because the people are so aggressive but that's not what we experienced at all. We got a 35$ taxi into town and the guy stayed with us the whole time pointing things out to us and explaining things about the old city, then he parked and walked around the old city with us and gave us a kind of private tour. It was a really beautiful place. We would really go back there without a cruise, we felt safe and everyone was friendly.
Visited: Jan 19, 2019
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